A SOCIAL media group calling for action to stop a new trend for mass gatherings at a local beauty spot has thanked two teenage girls who cleared up the mess.

After a long weekend of glorious weather, Richmond Falls was descended upon by party-goers bringing drink and drugs, and not abiding to social distancing rules.

Broken glass bottles, empty cans, used barbecues and nitrous oxide gas cannisters was among the rubbish left behind.

Volunteers visited the area to tidy up after the gathering last night, while others returned this morning and collected more rubbish.

It is believed the party was an organised event and attended by young people from the Teesside area.

Dan Wren set up a Facebook group called Stop the Trashing of Our Home Town and said within two days it had grown by nearly 700 members.

He said: “Lots of local people were complaining so I thought it best we were all in one group to share information and hopefully put a strong voice behind reports to the council and police. The police have got a very difficult job to do, but we do need some more authority behind us because there are concerns that tensions could escalate.”

Evie Mcfarlane and Chloe Natalie were among those cleaning up after the gathering on Bank Holiday Monday, which saw hundreds of people on the Falls and on the banks of the River Swale.

Chloe said: "We were sat together talking about all the mess and how it was building pretty quickly and it was clear that they weren’t intending to pick up after themselves. We started clearing along the Falls first but there was still groups of people they gave us a bit of hassle but I think that’s because they were intoxicated. We managed to clear most of it ourselves but then volunteers from the town started helping bringing us bags and hand sanitiser.

"We found mostly alcohol bottles, a lot of them were smashed which is what worried us because we know families visit to the Falls a lot and we didn’t want anybody being injured."

A Richmondshire District Council spokesperson said: “Richmondshire District Council is coordinating a multi agency task group in response to anti-social behaviour at the Falls over the last two weekends. The aim of the task group is to bring all the key players together to work out the best solution to prevent and manage the behaviour experienced recently. The task group will be set up as soon as possible and will include North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire County Council and district councillors.”

Richmond Councillor Stuart Parsons said he had given the taskforce a number of recommendations and hoped something could be put into place urgently.

He said: “The problem is not just in Richmond – at the weekend the Swaledale village Keld was mobbed by people believed to be from Doncaster. They left rubbish and used fields as toilets.

“In Richmond, there is an idea to close the Batts, but that would be unfair to local people who have behaved perfectly throughout lockdown. Families should be able to enjoy our outside spaces without fear of them being contaminated with broken glass, gas cannisters and other debris.

“I hope a plan can be put in place so that this can be tackled across Richmondshire.”

Dereck King, one of the volunteers helping the clean-up, said: “The stuff we found was everything from blood-soaked sanitary towels to drug paraphernalia and a mountain of disposable barbecues.

“On my guessing there was nearly 2,000 gas canisters all over, it took myself and the other volunteers over three hours to clean the top and bottom part of the Falls as best we could.

“It was infuriating to see the area near to where I’ve lived all my life to be left in such a disgusting and dangerous way.

“People of all ages have visited this beautiful place for many years and it does not deserve to be treated in such a way that locals have to clean up after these idiots!

“All we can hope for is that something will be done to prevent future actions like this again.”